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What to drink at the Christmas Table

It’s the big day. Christmas has finally come, and the table is about to groan with goodies for lunch or dinner and everyone has their own idea about when the time is right for popping a cork on some bubbly, while the cook(s) will have theirs about what should be in their glass as well as the gravy. No matter what is on the menu for the main event, whether it’s something for the starter, an accompaniment for the big centrepiece, or a mellow glass to see off the cheese and see you slipping onto the sofa for a nap, we can help.

Perhaps the easiest advice comes from wine writer Victoria Moore: ‘Christmas dinner is like the big box of decorations in the cupboard under the steps, filled with gaudy baubles, tasteful baubles, ugly baubles, matching baubles and clashing baubles: a big hotch-potch of family tradition, colour and whim.

When you sit down at the Christmas table, the first duty of the wine is not actually to go with the food but to go with your mood: it must be festive and celebratory. The best advice is therefore to drink the wine you quite fancy at the time.

We have a few well stocked shelves in the Deli. With a good range of wines to suit both pallet and wallet. We also have a huge selection of Gins, from the original Dry Gins to swirly shimmering offers. Aswell as the traditional Sloe Gin and Port - goes without saying! And for those like me that don't get the current Gin phase we also have a few vodkas and an English rum. Raisthorpe Manor Tonics are terrific and an abundance of them can be found in the fridge.

For many, a glass or two of bubbles is the starting point for any celebration and is just the thing to kick off Christmas. From the fruity fizz of a pitch-perfect Prosecco to the golden depths of a fine Champagne, sparkling wine is ideal with canapés and starters, the freshness inherent in both making an excellent beginning. The creamy but dry crémant style is great value and comes from all over France, like the Loire and Alsace

It’s time to talk turkey. The tricky bit is the trimmings. From sweet, tangy cranberry sauce, via sausages and bacon and the divisive bite of Brussels, crunchy spuds and root veg to meat or chestnut stuffings, there’s a lot for the wine to deal with. Ultimately, the main-event bird of so many households at Christmas is actually pretty comfortable with most wines. A young Pinot Noir or Beaujolais are easy going enough not to clash with the side dishes. A slightly heavier, more middle of the road option would be a claret, something like a Côtes de Bordeaux or perhaps a fine Rioja. At the top end of the scale, if your turkey dinner is a plethora of flavours on a plate you might find a bigger, bolder red necessary. Rhône reds, both north and south, are excellent here too. For those very full-bodied reds, California Zinfandels and Petite Sirah hit the mark.

If its a vegetarian feast before you the wine choices need to be equally as robust. For a Root Veg Tart type I would suggest a Viognier whilst for a nut roast, I would look no further than a beautiful New Zealand Chardonnay.

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